• The Devil May Cry franchise has been around since 2001 when Capcom introduced the hack and slash devil hunting anti-hero that was Dante with the original Playstation 2 game that was Devil May Cry. Since that time we have seen a sequel with Devil May Cry 2, a prequel to the series with Devil May Cry 3 and now hitting home on the next generation platforms, the second sequel from the original title… Devil May Cry 4. The DMC franchise for Capcom has been good business with the first three games selling well over 5 million copies Worldwide. But time will now tell if Capcom has managed to not only retain its franchise fan-base, but to have provided the gamer of 2008 with a must have, next generation platform polished title.

    In DMC4 you will take control of two playable characters and while you will still be able to jump back into the shoes of the anti-hero that is Dante half way through the game, the main hero of this game is the young; Nero.

    Devil May Cry 4

    First things first, the look and feel to DMC4 is quite simply stunning, and as the game opens you are introduced to Nero legging it down the road, late for a performance by his love interest Kyrie. Nero then has his path blocked by multiple sackcloth demons leaving you to just sit back and watch the cinematic in action as Nero kicks ass and like all good lads, makes it to the church on time. The graphics on show here rock, and coupled with superb camera work and audio to boot leaves you marvelling at just how beautiful this game looks, and all this without you having had to mash away at the joy-pad once. The large opening scene ends with Dante making his appearance and slaying the leader of ‘The Order of the Sword’. It is at this point, the moment you have been waiting for arrives, you the player… taking control!

    For both new and old fans to the series, the part where you take over does at least offer a tutorial showing you some of the slick moves up Nero’s sleeve. You have to battle Dante here and while this opening battle is pretty simple, messing around will leave Dante kicking your ass even at this stage of the game. Job done with Dante making a quick exit, and what becomes, the true starting point to your DMC4 experience.

    Control wise, thumbsticks control the movement of your character and allows you some control over the camera angles. The RB shoulder button allows you to lock onto an enemy and the face buttons operate your attacks. Using Nero as the example here… he is equipped with his sword the ‘Red Rose, a revolver named the ‘Blue Rose’ and his demonic arm, namely the ‘Devil Bringer’. Each of these weapons is mapped to one of the face buttons leaving the other face button for jumping / investigating objects and getting through doors and what not. The control system did seem a tad strange at first as having to hold the RB button which sits just above the face buttons in order to lock onto a target and then while holding, mash away on the face buttons as mentioned did seem strange, but you soon forget what seemed to be fiddly… to soon find yourself loving the control mechanics. Combat in DMC4 is all about the combos and as you take your journey through DMC4 you will unlock points that in turn will allow you to learn new skills, and as such, continually improve your chances of survival on later levels.

    Back peddling a little, the Devil Bringer certainly does deserve its own mention and without doubt becomes a staple part of your fighting style when using Nero. Using the Devil Bringer allows you to pick up an enemy and smash them into the ground, or swing them around your head in spectacular fashion before launching them into the group of enemies you are facing. Just after the beginning of the game it gets an upgrade and allows you to grab and pull objects to you and can then also be used to jump across large gaps by grasping onto blue orbs in certain areas that are suspended in thin air. The Devil Bringer is a brilliant weapon and ignoring Nero’s revolver that is practically useless, the Devil Bringer alongside his Red Rose sword will have you cleaving through enemies in spectacular fashion.

    And what would be a huge hack and slash game without some bad-ass bosses, and with DMC4… well this game certainly does not disappoint. The bosses in DMC4 are superb and certainly make way for the most challenging portions of the game. From a great fat toad, through to a hulking beast of a fire demon through to flying snake like plant creature to name a few. It will be these creatures that will test your skill as you quite often spend most of the battle figuring out how to avoid being attacked rather than how to take it down. Taking them down is the fun part and once you have figured out the bosses attack pattern and in turn how to avoid it then you will be jumping in slashing away like a demon ( no pun intended ). The fight with Berial as an example was a classy case of just how powerful Nero’s Devil Bringer is. Constantly slashing away at Burial’s face with your sword allows you to drop the hulking beast to the floor, keep slashing and you stun him before the spectacular moment where you use the Devil Bringer and grab him by the face before flipping him up and smashing him back into the ground. These are the moments where you lean back afterwards, grin, and utter the words “I just did that”. Before moving on I did just want to mention that all the fights that take part in DMC4 are very cool, even facing off against the continuous hordes of sackcloth demons… my point in fact here is that the boss battles are the icing on the cake and the pure David and Goliath moments that make any gamer smile.

    Devil May Cry 4 is a very neat package and one very well done. The game has a complete stylish feel to it and considering that this… pretty much is just is a hack and slash button masher, the fact that the game is so much fun to play, leaves you not caring about sore fingers. The game does have some problems with you constantly needing to trek through the same areas time after time and that Nero and Dante both have to face the same bosses, but from an overall standpoint the DMC franchise has moved very nicely onto the next generation platform and is a hell of a lot of fun to play. You have a whole host of difficulties to chew your way through as well as a number of side challenges top take on, when you find them throughout the game and a pretty well thought out and fairly hard achievement list to tick off along your travels. DMC4 is not the hardest game I have played in a while but it is most certainly not a walk in the park either. It is pretty much a balance from both sides and should therefore appeal to anyone new to the franchise and for those that have been there and done it before – at least prove that Capcom still has what it takes to produce one hell of a title.

    Score: 10/10

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